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Mary Paula Arends-Kuenning

Associate Professor


Mary Arends-Kuenning was named Acting Associate Dean of the Office of International Programs in the fall of 2021. Arends-Kuenning is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. She served as Interim Director of the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies at the University of Illinois from 2011 to 2014 and in 2019. In that role, she worked to build connections between faculty at the University of Illinois and at Brazilian Universities through grant programs, lecture series, and conferences. 

A native of Western New York, Arends-Kuenning completed her B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, an M.A. in Social Science at the University of Chicago, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics in 1992 and 1997 at the University of Michigan. Before joining the University of Illinois in 1998, she was a Berelson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Population Council in New York. She is an economic demographer who focuses on household decisions. Her research areas include children’s schooling and child labor, household consumption, family planning, and international migration. She examines the implications of household decisions for household members’ present and future well-being. Current research focuses on women’s decision-making power on smallholder farms in Brazil. 

Arends-Kuenning received the College of ACES Faculty Award for Global Impact in 2018. She was a Fulbright Research Fellow in the Philippines in 2008 researching international nurse migration. She has consulted for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, Fulbright, and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).  

She teaches courses on impact evaluation, household economics, and microeconomic theory to graduate students. She consistently appears on the University of Illinois List of Excellent Teachers. 


Additional Campus Affiliations

Acting Associate Dean for International Programs, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Associate Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Associate Professor, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Associate Professor, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
Associate Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Recent Publications

Ceballos-Sierra, F., Arends-Kuenning, M. P., & Hewey, A. (2023). Technology diffusion within families: experimental evidence from Nicaragua. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 29(3), 309-326.

Arends-Kuenning, M., Garcias, M., Kamei, A., Shikida, P. F. A., & Romani, G. E. (2022). Factors associated with harvest and postharvest loss among soybean farmers in Western Paraná State, Brazil. Food Policy, 112, Article 102363.

Gu, Y., & Arends-Kuenning, M. (2022). Investment in children’s higher education and household asset allocation in China. Journal of Applied Economics, 25(1), 1081-1126.

Travassos, G. F., Coelho, A. B., & Arends-Kuenning, M. P. (2022). Poverty Among The Elderly: An Application of a Collective Consumption Model in Brazil. Social Indicators Research, 163(2), 925-951.

Vedana, R., Shikida, P. F. A., de Oliveira Garcias, M., & Arends-Kuenning, M. P. (2022). Empoderamento feminino na agricultura: umB estudo na Lar Cooperativa Agroindustrial (Paraná). Revista de Economia e Sociologia Rural, 61(2), Article e237944.

View all publications on Illinois Experts